Set in an era long before the customs of contemporary western civilization, Heaney’s translation of Beowulf follows the courageous hero through an epic journey that solidifies his figurative immortality. Much like the Greek’s great Odysseus or the Roman’s devout Aeneus, Beowulf serves as an impressive and almost godlike warrior for the Anglo-Saxons, providing insight into the constituents of greatness for that society. Confident in his abilities and committed to his task, Beowulf voluntarily embarks on a mission to defeat Grendel, the treacherous enemy of the Danish kingdom. Beowulf solidifies his classification as an epic hero as he satisfies his quest for glory, saves a kingdom from destruction, and reveals the values of an era.
Many people who read the poem Beowulf would probably find it hard to find similarities between the poem and life in modern America. How could one compare an ancient Anglo-Saxon culture with the sophisticated world that we are living in today? But, if we look closely, we may be able to pinpoint some parallel between the two societies. This essay will discuss the topics of warrior life, the “bad guy,” and social similarities. One might wonder how a warrior culture might be similar to our own? But if we consider American culture, we are actually still very war-like. We have a strong military system built to protect our country and the people that make it up. We are also known for going to the aid of other
The Anglo-Saxons’ cultures and traditions are rooted in their beliefs of the perfect hero. Their ideal hero has many key characteristics influenced by their culture including courage, strength, bravery, thick skin, loyalty, humbleness, and the ability to create strong trustworthy friendships. Beowulf is an epic poem that exhibits the ideal Anglo-Saxon hero. The Anglo-Saxon traditions illustrated in Beowulf accurately represent the Anglo-Saxon traditions of the time period. This is accomplished through the distinct correlation of heroic characteristics between Beowulf and the culture’s traditional depiction of an Anglo-Saxon hero.
Every culture has its own set of beliefs values and customs. Cultural beliefs, values, and assumptions are directly and indirectly acquired throughout a lifetime. A culture is the sum of a group’s way of life and this is no different with the ancient Anglo Saxon culture. Cultures usually have distinct figures that reflect their culture as a whole. The importance of religion, values, and heroes are reflected a great deal in the epic poem of Beowulf accurately showing the Anglo Saxon culture as a whole.
Beowulf’s uncle is king of the Geats so Beowulf is sent to help rid the Danes of the evil Grendel. Beowulf risks his own life for the Danes, asking help from no one. He realizes the dangers but fears nothing for his own life. After Beowulf had served his people as King of the Geats for fifty years, he goes to battle one last time to fight a horrible dragon whom is frightening all of his people. Beowulf is old and tired but he fights the dragon in order to protect his people. Even in death he wished to secure safety for the Geats so a tall lighthouse is built in order to help the people find there way back from sea.
The Anglo-Saxon culture came from the ethos which arose from years of progress and understanding. This culture a unification of independent principalities brought together by one king known as Alfred the Great. The true sense of the culture came with the values of loyalty, kinship, and bravery, which present themselves in the epic tale of Beowulf whose violent victory propelled him from mercenary to rightful warrior and respected hero. where the birth of a hero came from the actions of a rightful warrior.
Beowulf was a man of admirable exploits. He had the strength of thirty men in his arms, and would use this strength to aid anyone in need. Upon hearing of the plight of Grendel and the ill happenings in Hrothgar’s kingdom, Beowulf
Beowulf is one of the oldest poems in history, it was originally written in Anglo-Saxon, and it was told orally with many literary devices so it could be remembered throughout generations. It shows what their society was based on back in the Anglo-Saxon era. Although throughout history the poem has been changed to fit our modern day society. For example, having different values and morals and how we look at religion has all changed. In the Beowulf poem and movie there are many similarities and differences in Religion, Characterization, and Morals it highlights the value and beliefs of each society.
In the beginning of the book Beowulf is described as the greatest hero of the world. Beowulf comes to hear about the destruction Grendel has caused and travels to the land of the Danes to try and help Hrothgar defeat Grendel. He brought to sea with him 14 brave warriors and voyaged to Hrothgar’s kingdom. As they exit the boat the mounted guard asks what Beowulf and his warriors are doing, Beowulf responds in a long message about what they are doing there and who they are going to save. The mounted guard responds “I believe your words, I trust in your friendship. Go forward, weapons and armor and all, on into Denmark. I’ll guide you myself and my men will guard your ship, keep it safe here on our shores” (Raffel 15). Beowulf gives off the feeling to people that do not even know him that he is a great hero and that he can be trusted.
As the story progresses, the deeds Beowulf is capable of are developed. He is respected in battle, as his people “have seen [his] great strength for themselves and watched [him] rise from the darkness of war” (ll. 151-152). They believe in his strength, which pushes him to sail across the sea in hopes of honoring a favor. Beowulf
Beowulf’s men, recognizing him as the chief also conform to the rules of comitatus when Beowulf is engaged in his battle with Grendel. While engaged in a struggle with Grendel in Heorot, Hrothgar’s great gathering hall, Beowulf’s men wake up. They immediately draw their swords and begin hacking at Grendel and persist in doing so despite the fact that Grendel is impervious to the blows of their swords. Despite the ineffectiveness of their attacks and the fear of a gruesome death, the soldiers, bound by comitatus, do not stop fighting until Beowulf kills Grendel.
Although viewed as ruthless savages, the Anglo-Saxon culture was not founded on the sole idea of barbaric brutality. The Anglo-Saxon beliefs were established by loyalty, generosity, and valor. As a result, the people of the Anglo-Saxon culture lived life by these ideals which created a great thirst for fame in being the best version of themselves. If one was decent at fighting, they would train to be the best fighter they could be, or if someone was intelligent they would devise complex riddles to boast of their intelligence. In order to fulfill their beliefs, there were many aspects of the Anglo-Saxon culture that were not only prevalent in their day to day life, they were expressed through their literature as well. In Beowulf, the
During the medieval times Vikings were known as warriors or heroes. These heroes were known mostly for their superhuman strength. Most stories tell the journey of these warriors and how they are honored after defeating an evil creature. A prime example of this would be the poem of “Beowulf”. Beowulf is known for his superhuman strength as the Vikings or warriors once were. However, Vikings were not only known for their physical qualities, they were also known for their leadership in battle and their interaction with those they serve as well as the courage they displayed. In this poem, Beowulf displays many characteristics as that of a medieval warrior through his acts of bravery, loyalty, generosity, courage, and an accomplishment of a great task.
When you think of England, what do you imagine? Do you see rolling hills, a cup of tea, and Downton Abbey? Or do you imagine the rich Germanic warrior culture, warlords, and epic battles? For most people it could be the modern vision, but to others it’s definitely the epic battles. The epic poem Beowulf provides a clear idea of the Anglo-Saxon period, and how life was in the 5th century.